The Fairfield football team suffered another tough road loss Friday night at Washington, falling to the Demons 24-22.
The scoring started in the second period when the Demons mobile quarterback, Luke Turner, scored the first of his four touchdowns on the night, an 81-yard pass to Ethan Hunt for a 6-0 lead after a failed two-point attempt.
The Trojans took their first lead of the contest when usual suspect, senior tailback Tristin Waugh, boomed his way into the endzone from one yard out. The PAT by sophomore Landen Schafer made it 7-6 in favor of Fairfield with 4:48 remaining in the second period.
Big third quarter
Fairfield took a chance and tried an on-side kick to start the third, and recovered.
“We had seen something on one of our kickoffs earlier,” explained head coach Matt Jones. “We thought that we could squeeze one in on them. We practiced it and we were able to make it work. It was exciting to get that, and it was a shot in the arm for us, but then we had trouble sustaining some drives and they got an interception.”
The Demons regained the advantage in the long-time rivalry with a 33-yard scoring scamper by Turner who gave Washington a 12-7 lead just 1:46 into the second half.
While the offense sputtered, Fairfield’s defense played well and even scored a touchdown with 7:34 left in the third when senior Jackson Weaton recovered a Garrett Ikerd fumble on the doorstep of the Trojan end zone before giving the road team a 15-12 lead after Waugh converted the two-point attempt.
Turner struck again on the ground with a 35-yard run that gave Washington an 18-15 advantage, despite missing the kick after attempt by Logan Escher.
The final touchdown of the busy period came with just 1:39 remaining, when senior Trojan quarterback Carson Crile hit Waugh for a perfect pass.
“It was like he was shot out of a cannon to go get that thing.” said Jones. “He changed speeds and Carson just laid it out there beautifully for him. There was good protection on that play, I think that’s what made it. That was fun.”
A Schafer PAT made it 22-18 in favor of Fairfield, but fourth quarters have not been kind to the Trojans in 2018.
Turner demonized the Trojans one final time with a 12-yard score with 8:32 on the clock that gave Washington a small, but important 24-22 lead that the Trojans were unable to overcome again.
Turner ended the game with one touchdown through the air on 15-30 passing and 10 rushes for 109 yards and three additional scores.
Waugh had 33 carries for 169 yards and a score, while the remaining four ball-carriers accumulated 11 yards on nine attempts and zero touchdowns.
“If you look at our yards per carry, I think it was pretty good,” said Jones. “When we got the ball in the fourth quarter down 24-22, I thought we could just chip away at them. We had a penalty, we had a negative play, and we got behind the chains. With what we do, if we get behind the chains, we are in trouble. Third and eight is not a good down for us. We had some critical penalties, but you have to give credit to Washington for bringing a guy on a stunt or play a game inside or a twist and we would not pick it up. They made some plays on us defensively.”
Crile was 11-22 passing with 169 yards and the TD pass to Waugh, although the senior also had three interceptions.
Waugh also took some snaps under the center, failing to complete all three pass attempts.
“We have used the wildcat in the past,” said Jones. “The shotgun-wildcat has been a good play for us and tonight it worked because we had some good numbers. We made some really really good plays, and I told the guys we just didn’t quite make enough of them.”
Crile hit six different receivers with Cole Engle catching four for 38 yards. Junior Carter Ferrel made one 20-yard grab while classmates Leone Gichure and Landon Kooiker each had two for 25 and 41 yards, respectively.
Defensively, senior Cole Engle led the effort with nine stops, including five solos and eight assists.
Ferrel and Kooiker each had an interception, while Weaton recovered the fumble for the defensive touchdown.
Ferrel also did the punting and the punt returning, kicking five times for 188 yards and returning one for 13 to go along with three kick returns for 61 yards.
Landen Schafer was 2-2 on point-after attempts.
Fairfield ends it’s season this Friday at district-champion Solon regardless of the outcome with Washington and Mt. Pleasant playing each other for the runners-up slot and an extremely long-shot at the playoffs as an at-large.
The Spartans are ranked No. 3 in Class 3A and are one of the two best teams in eastern Iowa along with Cedar Rapids Xavier.